Certification in Teaching College Science and Mathematics

Prepare yourself for a career in post-secondary education.

The Certification in Teaching College Science and Mathematics is a voluntary comprehensive program to prepare graduate students for careers in post-secondary education while enhancing the quality of their teaching at Michigan State. This program is part of an all-university program for Certification in College Teaching.

The requirements provide background and training in the teaching of science and mathematics at the college level. The program includes course work, workshops and seminars, a mentored teaching experience and the development of a teaching portfolio. The certificate earned in this program will provide graduates completing the program with the skills and tools needed to seek employment in an increasingly competitive job market.

Certification Program Benefits

Most new faculty must have advanced training in their discipline and some teaching experience, yet few will have participated in programs that prepares them for a career in higher education (Davis and Minnis, Innov. Higher Ed. 1993. 17: 211-224). As competition for faculty positions continues to increase, it will become more important for graduate students, well prepared as researchers, to be able to demonstrate similar preparation as teachers.

The Certification in Teaching of College Science and Mathematics is the only formal program in the State of Michigan, and one of only a handful in the United States, that provides graduate students a comprehensive preparation for teaching at the college level. The development of a teaching portfolio by the end of the program and the awarding of a certificate will supply participants with significant documentation of their teaching competence. Anticipated benefits to graduate students in this program are improved presenation skills and employment opportunities.

We surveyed science and mathematics faculty at colleges and universities across Michigan and asked if completion of this certificate would be viewed as important when reviewing candidates for new faculty positions. Of the 41 responses from 24 institutions, 83% indicated that a certificate program like this would be considered important or very important. Comments from some of the respondents included:

  • “The TA certificate program…could prove to be a valuable means for identifying people who would have the potential to be excellent faculty members at (our) college.”
  • “This would be a positive credential which would be given serious consideration.”
  • “This is a way to solve a long-standing problem. We do not do a very good job in preparing new teachers for the…environment of the natural sciences classroom.”

How to Apply

Students must be in a MS or PhD program in the College of Natural Science and have a commitment to developing their teaching competence. The application should include:

  1. Application Form (Word format)
  2. Statement of Interest Form (Word format)
  3. A letter of support from the student’s research adviser.
  4. Any additional support materials that an applicant deems important.

The application form and statement of interest can be submitted by email to parker13@msu.edu or mail a hard copy to:

Certification in Teaching College Science and Mathematics
354 Farm Lane, Room 100
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824

Fax: (517) 432-2175

A selection committee will review applications, and students will be notified of their acceptances.